Insure vs. Ensure vs. Assure: the Easiest Way to Get It Right

Last Updated on December 7, 2023

There are three close cousin words in the English language that can be easily confused. These words are insure vs. ensure vs. assure. Distinguishing the words in this word trio one from another is made difficult by the tendency of people to pronounce them the same.

Insure vs. Ensure vs. Assure: the Primary Differences 

The three words insure vs. ensure vs. assure, however, are not homophones – that is, they do not sound the same if they are pronounced correctly. The first letters “i”, “e”, and “a” create a different sound despite the similarities. In addition to a similar pronunciation, it also doesn’t help that the three words share similar definitions. All three of these words share the same connotation of making an outcome to be sure.

Despite the similarities, however, the words insure, ensure, and assure each have different meanings and unique usage. Knowing the difference will enable you to use the correct word in the appropriate situation. Even though the three words insure, ensure, and assure are similar, they each have distinctly different meanings. How can you know how to use them properly?

Insure vs. Ensure vs. AssurePinKey Takeaways

Here is a key to help you keep the words insure, ensure, and assure straight and to aid you in knowing when to use each word.

  • Insure – a legal agreement
  • Ensure – taking action steps
  • Assure – a verbal promise

Remember,

  • To insure is to cover someone or something with an insurance policy.
  • To ensure something is to make sure or certain that something will happen, that is, to make a guarantee to get it done.
  • To assure is to remove someone’s doubts or fears through a verbal promise.

Examples to put it all together:

  • I assure you, when I insure the property, the policy will ensure that any losses will be compensated.
  • If I insure the house to ensure better coverage, will this assure you that we will be secure?
  • When you insure your property, I assure you that you are taking the right steps to ensure you are covered.
  • I will insure this to assure you that it will ensure we are safe.

Definitions

The intricacies of the English language present themselves in words like “insure,” “ensure,” and “assure.” Each term carries a distinct definition often confused due to their phonetic resemblance.

Insure

Insure refers specifically to the act of providing or obtaining insurance, a form of financial protection against possible future losses or damages. It is commonly used within the context of financial transactions and insurance policies.

Ensure

Ensure implies making certain or guaranteeing that something will happen or that specific conditions will be met. This term is broader and includes actions taken to secure a particular outcome or event.

Assure

Assure is about giving confidence or a firm promise to someone, often related to addressing doubts or concerns. It is most often used in interpersonal communication, providing reassurance or a pledge.

Let’s look at each one. Here you will see each word defined, see similar words, the words used in example sentences, and see a tip on when it is appropriate to use each word. Once you see how each word is different from the others, you will know how to use them correctly and will be equipped to know when to use insure, ensure and assure in conversation and in writing.

Usage Guideline and Examples 

When To Use Insure

To insure is to cover something with an insurance policy. To insure is the legal steps taken to create an agreement between the insurance company and the one who is insured that if something happens to the insured person or property, the insuring company will provide financial compensation.

It should be noted that some linguistic authorities outside the United States consider insure and ensure synonymous and interchangeable. This usage is generally in the case of insurance policies. Despite this ambiguity, insure is still the preferred word used to refer to a legal insurance coverage agreement.

Some similar words for insure are: protect, cover, underwrite, shield, guarantee, warrant, hedge, safeguard.

*You use the word insure when you are talking about and dealing with an insurance policy.

Examples:

  • I took out a policy with this company to insure my property.
  • It’s a good thing we decided to insure our house for flood damage before the river overflowed its banks.
  • The insurance agent wrote a policy to help us insure our new boat.
  • It is the law to insure your car.
  • It is a good idea to insure your belongings with a renter’s insurance policy even though your landlord has property insurance.

When To Use Ensure

To ensure is to make sure that something will happen. It is to have or to do what is necessary to achieve success. To ensure is to take action and the outcome is the result of one’s efforts. The meaning of ensure is to make certain that something will happen and when someone ensures, they are taking deliberate steps to follow up on a promise or commitment.

Some similar words for ensure are: secure, guarantee, certify, confirm, verify, make sure, make certain, see to it.

*You use the word ensure when you are talking about the action, specified or implied, that you are taking to make sure something will take place.

Examples:

  • This is my action plan to ensure our success.
  • I will be conscientious with my work to ensure nothing will go wrong.
  • My promise should ensure you that I will do what you asked.
  • The safety steps are taken to ensure accidents won’t happen.
  • Adding more wood to the fire will ensure keeping us warm.

When To Use Assure

To assure is to make a promise and to state that promise with confidence and certainty. To assure, therefore, is to remove doubt or uncertainty with the goal of building confidence in another. When you assure someone of something, you are making them confident of it. The one who assures is involved primarily in a verbal activity rather than of taking action.

Some similar words for assure are: reassure, convince, satisfy, guarantee, promise, prove to, certify to, attest to, swear to, pledge to, vow to, and give one’s word to.

*You use the word assure when you are making a verbal commitment.

Examples:

  • I assure you that the event will take place.
  • I am saying this to assure you that things will work out okay.
  • Would you please assure the passengers that all will be well?
  • Having the safeguards in place did a lot to assure me of our safety.
  • We assure you that all contingencies have been taken under consideration.

Tips for Correct Use

When distinguishing between insureensure, and assure, one may find it helpful to remember the following tips:

Visualize with a Table

Verb Usage
Insure Financial protection (e.g., policies for health, home)
Ensure Guarantee outcomes or conditions
Assure Remove doubts, often personal reassurance

Utilize Mnemonics

  • Insure has the same starting letters as “insurance,” linking it to coverage against loss.
  • Ensure sounds like “ending sure,” suggesting making an outcome certain.
  • Assure starts with “A,” equating to addressing “A person’s” concerns.

Insure vs. Ensure vs. Assure: Example in Sentences 

Examples of “Insure” in Sentences

  • I need to insure my new car as soon as possible to comply with state laws.
  • It’s important to insure your home against natural disasters like floods and earthquakes.
  • The company decided to insure its employees with a comprehensive health insurance plan.
  • Travelers are advised to insure their luggage before embarking on international trips.
  • The art gallery must insure the paintings for their estimated value before the exhibition.

Examples of “Ensure” in Sentences

  • Please double-check the report to ensure all the facts are correct.
  • The engineer conducted several tests to ensure the safety of the new design.
  • The chef tasted the sauce to ensure it had the right amount of seasoning.
  • We have implemented new protocols to ensure customer data remains secure.
  • The organizers are working hard to ensure that the event runs smoothly.

Examples of “Assure” in Sentences

  • The manager assured the team that there would be no layoffs this year.
  • assure you that your feedback has been taken seriously and will be addressed.
  • He assured his parents that he would arrive home before curfew.
  • The doctor assured the patient that the procedure was routine and low-risk.
  • She assured her friend that she would support her during the difficult times.

Practical Exercises 

Insure, Ensure, or Assure?

  1. I need to __________ my car against theft and damage. (Insure/Ensure/Assure)
  2. Let me __________ you that everything will be completed on time. (Insure/Ensure/Assure)
  3. The manager put in extra checks to __________ the project’s success. (Insure/Ensure/Assure)
  4. You should __________ your home to protect against natural disasters. (Insure/Ensure/Assure)
  5. I can __________ you that your secrets are safe with me. (Insure/Ensure/Assure)
  6. We must __________ that all safety protocols are followed. (Insure/Ensure/Assure)
  7. The contract is designed to __________ the company from liability. (Insure/Ensure/Assure)
  8. The pilot tried to __________ passengers that the turbulence was normal. (Insure/Ensure/Assure)
  9. To __________ a smooth launch, we will need to test everything thoroughly. (Insure/Ensure/Assure)
  10. It’s important to __________ your health by getting regular check-ups. (Insure/Ensure/Assure)

Answers:

  1. Insure
  2. Assure
  3. Ensure
  4. Insure
  5. Assure
  6. Ensure
  7. Insure
  8. Assure
  9. Ensure
  10. Ensure

Interactive Quiz: “Insure” vs. “Ensure” vs. “Assure”

Test your understanding of “insure,” “ensure,” and “assure” with this interactive quiz.

  1. Which of the following is correct?
    • I want to assure you that everything will be okay.
    • I want to ensure you that everything will be okay.
    • I want to insure you that everything will be okay.
  2. Which of the following is correct?
    • This policy will insure your car against theft.
    • This policy will ensure your car against theft.
    • This policy will assure your car against theft.
  3. Which of the following is correct?
    • Can you ensure that the documents are sent on time?
    • Can you insure that the documents are sent on time?
    • Can you assure that the documents are sent on time?
  4. Which of the following is correct?
    • I assure you, the results of the test are accurate.
    • I ensure you, the results of the test are accurate.
    • I insure you, the results of the test are accurate.
  5. Which of the following is correct?
    • We need to ensure that all equipment is functioning before the event.
    • We need to insure that all equipment is functioning before the event.
    • We need to assure that all equipment is functioning before the event.

Answers:

  1. I want to assure you that everything will be okay. (To “assure” someone is to remove doubts or fears.)
  2. This policy will insure your car against theft. (To “insure” is to provide financial compensation in the case of damage or loss.)
  3. Can you ensure that the documents are sent on time? (To “ensure” is to make certain that something will happen.)
  4. I assure you, the results of the test are accurate. (To “assure” someone is to remove doubts or fears.)
  5. We need to ensure that all equipment is functioning before the event. (To “ensure” is to make certain that something will happen.)

What is the difference between insureensure, and assure?
Insure refers to the financial protection against loss or harm, typically provided by an insurance policy. Ensure means to make certain that something will occur. Assure is used to remove doubts or fears in a person.

When should one use insure?
One should use insure when they are discussing financial protection through an insurance policy. For example, “They insured their home against floods.”

Is it correct to use ensure and assure interchangeably?
No, ensure and assure are not interchangeable. Ensure should be used when someone is making sure that an event or condition is definite, whereas assure should be used when someone is looking to make another person confident about something.

Can ensure and insure ever mean the same thing?
In general usage, ensure and insure are distinct. However, in some cases, particularly in American English, insure can sometimes be used in place of ensure, but it is less common and often considered less formal.

Term Definition Example
Insure To provide or obtain insurance coverage “They decided to insure their car for extra peace of mind.”
Ensure To make sure or certain “She double-checked the figures to ensure accuracy.”
Assure To tell someone confidently to dispel any doubts “The doctor assured the patient that the surgery would be straightforward.”

 

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